10/29/2008 12:00AM

Texas approves switch of Sam Houston dates to Retama

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The Texas Racing Commission on Wednesday unanimously gave approval for a portion of the canceled Sam Houston Race Park meet to be held at Retama Park near San Antonio. Plans are in place for 43 of the 65 lost dates to be run from Nov. 20 through Feb. 28, 2009. The remaining 12 dates have been canceled. The meet follows the close of the Retama season on Nov. 15.

Sam Houston announced the cancellation of its meet last week because of damages it sustained when Hurricane Ike made landfall in nearby Galveston, Texas, on Sept. 12. Officials said high winds led to structural damage of the grandstand roof, which will take three months to repair. There are also damages to dormitories, tack rooms, and the tote board.

The commission met Wednesday at Sam Houston, where officials toured the facility. The track had been scheduled to open Nov. 28 and run through April 4, 2009.

Retama has begun processing stall applications from Sam Houston. James Leatherman, the racing secretary at Retama, said an abbreviated version of the Sam Houston stakes schedule would be run at Retama.

He said the entire Texas Champions Day card of stakes is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 6. Leatherman said that, at the request of Sam Houston officials, there would be no running this meet of the Grade 3, $200,000 Connally Breeders' Cup Turf or the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup.